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Normandy & Loire

We are planning a trip for a long way away (mid-late June 2009)and we want to return to Normandy (2 days last trip---far too short!) We stayed last time in Villers Bocage; thinking about a more convenient location to the D-Day sites this time. (Although I was pleasantly surprised to learn about the Battle of Villers Bocage on our trip)

Gonna bite the bullet and take 2 weeks vacation this time so I want to increase time in Normandy (I'm a big WWII nut and I want to spend more time on this trip)and then dip down into the Loire Valley.

Figuring on flying into CDG, train to Bayeux, pick up a rental car. I have have a good idea of the area, and will probably maximize B&B's.

Never have been to the Loire asking for tips and advice.

Is it easier and/or cheaper to drop the car off in the area and take the train back to CDG, or drive back? We drove back last time and stayed in need to do that again.

I have a feel for what major sites to see in the Loire. But any thoughts are appreciated!

But I want----for a change---to spend time leisurely and truly enjoy the area.

Thanks....excuse me: Merci!

Posted by
320 posts

Mark - Having a car through the Loire is loads of fun - we spent one whole day just getting lost on purpose - saw all kinds of neat things - a great experience.

For my money there are two chateaux to see (maybe a third) Chenonceau - so beautiful; Cheverny - be there for the feeding of the hunting dogs and look for the thank you letter from George Washington!; Chambord is pretty darn neat too.

We've stayed in Chenonceaux village twice and loved it. If you stay there you can see Chenonceau chateau early before the buses show up and walk around late in the evening - very peaceful. Hotel Rosaraie is great and its restaurant is fantastic. Have fun.

Posted by
852 posts

Hi Mark,

In case you need a base to work from - and just in case this one is in the right area for you, click on this web site of the inn and have a look ...

Have a great trip !! P.

Posted by
16 posts

Just a suggestion but if you are a WW2 nut as I am why not fly into London take the train down to the Channel and take the ferry across to Dieppe. Entering Normandy by sea may be a neat experience as opposed to a land route. I will let you know we will be doing it on the 28th of Sept. I just think that to get the flavor of what it must have been like the sea route might just add a bit of spice. :)

Posted by
1158 posts

I can't tell you about Normandy, never been there, but I travel all alaong Loire valley. Wonderful!
We rented a car from Amsterdam and went all the way down to Soutern France, to Golden Coast , thru Loire Valley. We took the highway from Amsterdam to Paris, but it was so expensive that we decided to take the side roads, which was great idea. This way we were able to see the castles from the road. I also liked the little towns we went thru and wineries. Even Bordeaux is my favorite wine, Loire region has Great wine too, and it's very unexpensive when you buy it directly from the winery, 2-3 euros/ 1 litter.
Get an Atlas of Europe or France, from Borders or other places like that. It's very useful.
About dropping your car off, you should ask the rent a car compony about their policy. It might cost you money to do so. We rented the car from Very good price 5 years ago and they have offices in the US and all over Europe.

Posted by
157 posts


Stayed in both the Loire Valley & Normandy this July.

We choose Chateau des Ormeaux in Amboise, which I must say was the BEST place we stayed in France and Chateau I'sle Marie in Normandy, which was also very nice.

I found them through Tripadvisor & was very pleased.

A. Chateau des Ormeaux was simply put the BEST place we stayed in France, EXCELLENT in every way..location, hosts, food, accodations, facilities etc. The three hosts were most likely the Best Hotel I have ever stayed at who excelled at makiing you feel welcome and at home.

B Chateau I'lse Marie has a chef in residence, who served some of Best meals we had in France.


Posted by
3551 posts

Just back from Loire in August and was in Normandy last Nov. I would have Bayeux as your base. And a little further on but don't forget Mont St Michel for one night, incredible!
In Loire you really can't go wrong all the chateauxs are great you may want to balance out with some with gardens. You can eventually burn out espec with Chambord (huge) (better to see this one from a distance. We returned our car rental at CDG for convenience and stayed the night at an airport hotel with shuttle service to airport. worked great at Etap hotel part of accor chain (Novotel, Ibis etc.)